Dr. Jill Iman, Abigail Kesner, Dr. Janet Lopez have joined our team to elevate Foundation’s new, community-informed strategic framework.
The Denver Foundation welcomes three new members to its leadership team: Dr. Jill Iman, Director of Engaged Learning; Abigail Kesner, Vice President of Communications; and Dr. Janet Lopez, Senior Director of Policy, Partnerships, and Learning.
The Denver Foundation created all three positions to advance the goals of the new strategic framework, which was launched in February 2021. Reflecting extensive input from community partners, nonprofit organizations, donors, fundholders, and other stakeholders, the framework creates bridges between philanthropy and community in service of The Denver Foundation’s vision of a racially equitable future for Metro Denver.
Dr. Janet Lopez will lead strategies to develop meaningful new collaborative partnerships with organizations that share The Denver Foundation’s values. She will grow established community programs including Strengthening Neighborhoods, the Foundation’s grants program for grassroots community groups established in 1997. Alongside Naomi Amaha, Director of Policy & Government Affairs, Dr. Lopez will also guide The Denver Foundation’s first-ever public policy framework and policy-related initiatives to strengthen the civic fabric in Metro Denver and across Colorado. Public policy is a grantmaking and programmatic priority of the new framework.
The framework affirms The Denver Foundation’s commitment to constantly learning from and improving on its internal and external practices in service to the people of Metro Denver. Dr. Lopez will guide that learning alongside Dr. Jill Iman. Dr. Iman will develop and implement the organization’s new learning framework, which will shift The Denver Foundation from a “knowing organization” to a “learning organization.” Through this learning framework, The Denver Foundation will continually incorporate feedback from stakeholders to inform and improve its work.
Abigail Kesner will lead communications to advance strategies of the new framework, including engaged philanthropy and community-led grantmaking. With practices rooted in racial equity, Kesner will position the Foundation as a philanthropic innovator that lifts voices of Foundation leadership and community partners.
“These three exceptional leaders bring a combined wealth of experience that profoundly deepens The Denver Foundation’s expertise, insight, and reach into the community,” says Javier Alberto Soto, President and CEO. “Beyond their outstanding credentials, Janet, Jill, and Abigail also share a genuine passion for building a racially equitable future for everyone in Metro Denver. I am thrilled that they’ve chosen to share their talent, creativity, and focus with The Denver Foundation and those who are touched by our work.”
Dr. Jill Iman, Director of Engaged Learning
As the Director of Engaged Learning, Jill translates The Denver Foundation’s vision for social change into an evaluation framework that contributes to a better understanding of progress and impact. Dr. Iman identifies as an analytical idealist and has more than 15 years of research, evaluation and planning experience within academia, the nonprofit sector, and government. Her career focus has been on making data tangible and relevant to decision making and strategy. Prior to TDF, Dr. Iman was the Managing Director and Director of Evaluation and Engagement at Joining Vision and Action where she supported nonprofits and government entities in designing and implementing planning and evaluation efforts; and before that, Dr. Iman worked as a policy analyst for U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. Dr. Iman holds a bachelor’s degree from Colorado College, a master’s degree in Psychology and a PhD in Social Psychology from The University of Michigan.
Abigail Kesner, Vice President of Communications
Abigail Kesner is the Vice President of Communications for The Denver Foundation. She believes in the power of communications to positively impact communities. Kesner has worked in communications for 20 years as a producer with CNN, as communications director for the Colorado State Senate, and as a communications and marketing director at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and now at The Denver Foundation. She is a motivated strategic thinker and team leader who can bring innovative approaches to the work and distill complex ideas into compelling communications. Kesner started her career at CNN in New York at the news desk and later as an anchor producer for Paula Zahn and John Roberts. She relocated to Colorado in 2009 to serve as communications director for the Colorado State Senate. Kesner holds a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Middlebury College.
Dr. Janet Lopez, Senior Director of Policy, Partnerships, and Learning
As the Senior Director of Policy, Partnerships, and Learning, Dr. Janet Lopez seeks to deepen relationships with nonprofit leaders, donors, and policymakers throughout Metro Denver to increase The Denver Foundation’s impact on critical needs and solutions to those needs. Her career has focused on increasing access and opportunity for BIPOC communities. Prior to joining The Denver Foundation, Dr. Lopez worked at Rose Community Foundation as the Director of Policy and the Senior Program Officer of Education Grantmaking. She has also worked for Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. Her community involvement has included serving as a board member on many local and national boards. She is a German Marshall Fund Marshall Memorial Fellow and a National Hispanic Institute Gen X Women of Distinction. Dr. Lopez holds a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University, a master’s degree from the University of Colorado Boulder, and a Ph.D. in Education from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
About The Denver Foundation
The Denver Foundation is a community foundation that inspires people and mobilizes resources to improve life in Metro Denver. In 2021, the Foundation and its donors awarded $115 million in grants. The Denver Foundation has three roles: stewarding an endowment to meet current and future needs for Metro Denver, working with community leaders to address the core challenges that face the community and managing more than 1,000 charitable funds on behalf of individuals, families and businesses. To learn more about The Denver Foundation, visit www.denverfoundation.org.